Jacqueline Foster travels for inspiration. This year, inspiration gave birth to a new food truck, Mangku. Whether it was how she fell head over heels for Dublin or her intense love for Thailand and Malaysia, I’m happy she’s well-traveled, because it shows in the food served on the Mangku truck.
Mangku was the name of a holy man she met in Bali. After a short stint in art school, Ms. Foster now works with food as a medium. You might recognize her name — she was the master cheesemaker at the Grey Barn in previous years, but a desire to have something of her own and “put a stake to the ground” stirred the thoughts of a food truck into motion.
“Food just makes me excited,” Ms. Foster said with a smile on her face. As we talk about the menu on the truck, my stomach starts growling. Because this is just what we need on the Island, and variety is definitely the spice of life. Rice bowls are the main feature, and for a rice-loving girl like myself, that’s music to my ears. Customized to your liking, you decide whether you want white or brown rice and then go for the toppings of meats, fish, and vegetables. Toppings include smoked bluefish salad, red braised pork, spicy Thai chicken salad, and lemongrass chicken, all locally sourced from Island farms, as are the vegetables, which are typically some sort of slaw, kimchi, or pickled produce.
Everything on the truck is gluten- and dairy-free, so that’s a sigh of relief if you’re following any of these specific diets or lifestyles. And you won’t miss the gluten or dairy, because the flavors here are pretty delicious. Rice bowls are so promising, so delightful once you hold them in your hands. A hard squeeze of sriracha, along with a drizzle of chili vinegar from the side of the truck, and you’re set. Oh, and don’t forget to add an egg. Once you mix it all in with your chopsticks, that yolk will become part of your sauce. The combination of flavors — sweet, savory, salty, and bitter — works like a charm, and I’m excited to taste a variety of bowls from the truck this summer.
Find the Mangku food truck on the Little Bridge on State Beach, near the Capawock Theater on Main Street in Vineyard Haven, as well as at dinners for the MVFF in Chilmark. For a more detailed schedule, visit them online at mangkutruck.com/schedule/.